US impressed by Taiwan-developed mask availability digital maps

More than 80 apps providing information about masks have been created in Taiwan using open data

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Digital map showing mask availability. (Website screenshot)

Digital map showing mask availability. (Website screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Many countries have been impressed by Taiwan-developed digital maps that provide information about facial mask availability, which are in short supply due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The island nation has moved quickly to establish platforms that provide information about mask supplies, soon after the Wuhan virus (COVID-19) broke out, said Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳).

She is visiting Washington to attend seminars and deliver speeches on the 2020 Taiwan elections at the invitation of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank. Topics include Beijing’s interference in the elections, as well as the progress Taiwan has made in promoting a digital government, she said in Facebook posts.

According to Tang, countries including the United States have expressed interest in how Taiwan employs its tech expertise to cope with the virus outbreak. At least 80 programs and applications have been created by the private sector to inform the public about mask availability using open data provided by the health authorities, reported CNA.

She also exchanged opinions with officials from the U.S. Digital Service and lawmakers from the Internet of Things Caucus, Task Force on Financial Technology, Task Force on Artificial Intelligence, and Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, according to the report.

Taiwan has implemented a rationing scheme to manage the distribution of surgical masks, which are experiencing shortages as the China-originated virus continues to spread globally. The virus has infected over 67,000 worldwide as of Feb. 15.